List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V11, by Eugene Sue
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soon the intensity of the fire diminished, a few threads of bluish smoke
alone mounted upwards--and then, all was extinct.

The work was done!  Breathless and faint, Rodin leaned against the marble
slab.  For the first time in his life, he wept; large tears of rage
rolled down his cadaverous cheeks.  But suddenly, dreadful pains, at
first dull, but gradually augmenting in intensity, seized on him with so
much fury, though he employed all his energy to struggle against them,
that he fell on his knees, and, pressing his two hands to his chest,
murmured with an attempt to smile: "It is nothing.  Do not be alarmed.  A
few spasms--that is all.  The treasure is destroyed--but I remain General
of the Order.  Oh! I suffer.  What a furnace!" he added, writhing in
agony.  "Since I entered this cursed house, I know not what ails me.  If
--I had not lived on roots--water--bread--which I go myself to buy--I
should think--I was poisoned--for I triumph--and Cardinal Malipieri has
long arms.  Yes--I still triumph--for I will not die--this time no more
than the other--I will not die!"

Then, as he stretched out his arms convulsively, he continued: "It is
fire that devours my entrails.  No doubt, they have tried to poison me.
But when? but how?"

After another pause, Rodin again cried out, in a stifled voice: "Help!
help me, you that stand looking on--like, spectres!--Help me, I say!"

Horror-struck at this dreadful agony, Samuel and Father Caboccini were
unable to stir.

"Help!" repeated Rodin, in a tone of strangulation, "This poison is
horrible.--But how--"  Then, with a terrific cry of rage, as if a sudden
idea had struck him, he exclaimed: "Ha! Faringhea--this morning--the holy
water--he knows such subtle poisons.  Yes--it is he--he had an interview
with Malipieri.  The demon!--Oh! it was well played.  The Borgias are
still the same.  Oh! it is all over.  I die.  They will regret me, the
fools!--Oh! hell! hell!  The Church knows not its loss--but I burn--

They came to his assistance.  Quick steps were heard upon the stairs, and
Dr. Baleinier, followed by the Princess de Saint-Dizier, appeared at the
entrance of the Hall of Mourning.  The princess had learned vaguely that
morning the death of Father d'Aigrigny, and had come to question Rodin
upon the subject.  When this woman, entering the room, suddenly saw the
frightful spectacle that offered itself to her view--when she saw Rodin
writhing in horrible agony, and, further on, by the light of the
sepulchral lamp, those six corpses--and, amongst them, her own niece, and
the two orphans whom she had sent to meet their death--she stood
petrified with horror, and her reason was unable to withstand the shock.
She looked slowly round her, and then raised her arms on high, and burst
into a wild fit of laughter.  She had gone mad.  Whilst Dr. Baleinier
supported the head of Rodin, who expired in his arms, Faringhea appeared
at the door; remaining in the shade, he cast a ferocious glance at the
corpse of the Jesuit.  "He would have made himself the chief of the
Company of Jesus, to destroy it," said he; "with me, the Company of Jesus
stands in the place of Bowanee.  I have obeyed the cardinal!"

[44] Should this appear incredible, we would remind the reader of the
marvellous discoveries in the art of embalming--particularly Dr.




Four years had elapsed, since the events we have just related, when
Gabriel de Rennepont wrote the following letter to Abbe Joseph
Charpentier, curate of the Parish of Saint-Aubin, a hamlet of Sologne:

"Springwater Farm,
"June 2d, 1836.

"Intending to write to you yesterday, my bear Joseph, I seated myself at
the little old black table, that you will remember well.  My window
looks, you know, upon the farmyard, and I can see all that takes place
there.  These are grave preliminaries, my friend, but I am coming to the
point.  I had just taken my seat at the table, when, looking from the
window, this is what I saw.  You, my dear Joseph, who can draw so well,
should have been there to have sketched the charming scene.  The sun was
sinking, the sky serene, the air warm and balmy with the breath of the
hawthorn, which, flowering by the side of a little rivulet, forms the
edge which borders the yard.  Under the large pear-tree, close to the
wall of the barn, sat upon the stone bench my adopted father, Dagobert,
that brave and honest soldier whom you love so much.  He appeared
thoughtful, his white head was bowed on his bosom; with absent mind, he
patted old Spoil-sport, whose intelligent face was resting on his
master's knees.  By his side was his wife, my dear adopted mother,
occupied with her sewing; and near them, on a stool, sat Angela, the wife
of Agricola, nursing her last-born child, while the gentle Magdalen, with
the eldest boy in her lap, was occupied in teaching him the letters of
the alphabet.  Agricola had just returned from the fields, and was
beginning to unyoke his cattle, when, struck, like me, no doubt, with
this picture, he stood gazing on it for a moment, with his hand still
leaning on the yoke, beneath which bent submissive the broad foreheads of
his two large black oxen.  I cannot express to you, my friend, the
enchanting repose of this picture, lighted by the last rays of the sun,
here and there broken by the thick foliage.  What various and touching
types!  The venerable face of the soldier--the good, loving countenance
of my adopted mother--the fresh beauty of Angela, smiling on her little
child--the soft melancholy of the hunchback, now and then pressing her
lips to the fair, laughing cheek of Agricola's eldest son--and then
Agricola himself, in his manly beauty, which seems to reflect so well the
valor and honesty of his heart!  Oh, my Friend! in contemplating this
assemblage of good, devoted, noble, and loving beings, so dear to each
other, living retired in a little farm of our poor Sologne, my heart rose
towards heaven with a feeling of ineffable gratitude.  This peace of the
family circle--this clear evening, with the perfume of the woods and wild
flowers wafted on the breeze--this deep silence, only broken by the
murmur of the neighboring rill--all affected me with one of these passing
fits of vague and sweet emotion, which one feels but cannot express.  You
well know it, my friend, who, in your solitary walks, in the midst of
your immense plains of flowering heath, surrounded by forests of fir
trees, often feel your eyes grow moist, without being able to explain the
cause of that sweet melancholy, which I, too, have often felt, during
those glorious nights passed in the profound solitudes of America.

"But, alas! a painful incident disturbed the serenity of the picture.
Suddenly I heard Dagobert's wife say to him: `My dear--you are weeping!'

"At these words, Agricola, Angela, and Magdalen gathered round the
soldier.  Anxiety was visible upon every face.  Then, as he raised his
head abruptly, one could see two large tears trickle down his cheek to
his white moustache.  `It is nothing, my children,' said he, in a voice
of emotion `it is nothing.  Only, to-day is the first of June--and this
day four years--' He could not complete the sentence; and, as he raised
his hands to his eyes, to brush away the tears, we saw that he held
between his fingers a little bronze chain, with a medal suspended to it.
That is his dearest relic.  Four years ago, almost dying with despair at
the loss of the two angels, of whom I have so often spoken to you, my
friend, he took from the neck of Marshal Simon, brought home dead from a
fatal duel, this chain and medal which his children had so long worn.  I
went down instantly, as you may suppose, to endeavor to soothe the
painful remembrances of this excellent man; gradually, he grew calmer,
and the evening was passed in a pious and quiet sadness.

"You cannot imagine, my friend, when I returned to my chamber, what cruel
thoughts came to my mind, as I recalled those past events, from which I
generally turn away with fear and horror.  Then I saw once more the
victims of those terrible and mysterious plots, the awful depths of which
have never been penetrated thanks to the death of Father d'A. and Father
R., and the incurable madness of Madame de St.-D., the three authors or
accomplices of the dreadful deeds.  The calamities occasioned by them are
irreparable; for those who were thus sacrificed to a criminal ambition,
would have been the pride of humanity by the good they would have done.
Ah, my friend! if you had known those noble hearts; if you had known the
projects of splendid charity, formed by that young lady, whose heart was
so generous, whose mind so elevated, whose soul so great! On the eve of
her death, as a kind of prelude to her magnificent designs, after a
conversation, the subject of which I must keep secret, even from you, she
put into my hands a considerable sum, saying, with her usual grace and
goodness: "I have been threatened with ruin, and it might perhaps come.
What I now confide to you will at least be safe--safe--for those who
suffer.  Give much--give freely--make as many happy hearts as you can.
My happiness shall have a royal inauguration!!"  I do not know whether I
ever told you, my friend, that, after those fatal events, seeing Dagobert
and his wife reduced to misery, poor "Mother Bunch" hardly able to earn a
wretched subsistence, Agricola soon to become a father, and myself
deprived of my curacy, and suspended by my bishop, for having given
religious consolations to a Protestant, and offered up prayers at the
tomb of an unfortunate suicide--I considered myself justified in
employing a small portion of the sum intrusted to me by Mdlle. de
Cardoville in the purchase of this farm in Dagobert's name.

"Yes, my friend, such is the origin of my fortune.  The farmer to whom
these few acres formerly belonged, gave us the rudiments of our
agricultural education, and common sense, and the study of a few good
practical books, completed it.  From an excellent workman, Agricola has
become an equally excellent husbandman; I have tried to imitate him, and
have put my hand also to the plough there is no derogation in it, for the
labor which provides food for man is thrice hallowed, and it is truly to
serve and glorify God, to cultivate and enrich the earth He has created.
Dagobert, when his first grief was a little appeased, seemed to gather
new vigor from this healthy life of the fields; and, during his exile in
Siberia, he had already learned to till the ground.  Finally, my dear
adopted mother and sister, and Agricola's good wife, have divided between
them the household cares; and God has blessed this little colony of
people, who, alas! have been sorely tried by misfortune, and who now only
ask of toil and solitude, a quite, laborious, innocent life, and oblivion
of great sorrows.  Sometimes, in our winter evenings, you have been able
to appreciate the delicate and charming mind of the gentle "Mother
Bunch," the rare poetical imagination of Agricola, the tenderness of his
mother, the good sense of his father, the exquisite natural grace of
Angela.  Tell me, my friend, was it possible to unite more elements of
domestic happiness?  What long evenings have we passed round the fire of
crackling wood, reading, or commenting on a few immortal works, which
always warm the heart, and enlarge the soul!  What sweet talk have we
had, prolonged far into the night!  And then Agricola's pastorals, and
the timid literary confidences of Magdalen!  And the fresh, clear voice
of Angela, joined to the deep manly tones of Agricola, in songs of simple
melody!  And the old stories of Dagobert, so energetic and picturesque in
their warlike spirit!  And the adorable gayety of the children, in their
sports with good old Spoil-sport, who rather lends himself to their play
than takes part in it--for the faithful, intelligent creature seems
always to be looking for somebody, as Dagobert says--and he is right.
Yes, the dog also regrets those two angels, of whom he was the devoted

"Do not think, my friend, that our happiness makes us forgetful.  No, no;
not a day passes without our repeating, with pious and tender respect,
those names so dear to our heart.  And these painful memories, hovering
forever about us, give to our calm and happy existence that shade of mild
seriousness which struck you so much.  No doubt, my friend, this kind of
life, bounded by the family circle, and not extending beyond, for the
happiness or improvement of our brethren, may be set down as selfish;
but, alas! we have not the means--and though the poor man always finds a
place at our frugal table, and shelter beneath our roof, we must renounce
all great projects of fraternal action.  The little revenue of our farm
just suffices to supply our wants.  Alas! when I think over it,
notwithstanding a momentary regret, I cannot blame my resolution to keep
faithfully my sacred oath, and to renounce that great inheritance, which,
alas! had become immense by the death of my kindred.  Yes, I believe I
performed a duty, when I begged the guardian of that treasure to reduce
it to ashes, rather than let it fall into the hands of people, who would
have made an execrable use of it, or to perjure myself by disputing a
donation which I had granted freely, voluntarily, sincerely.  And yet,
when I picture to myself the realization of the magnificent views of--my
ancestor--an admirable Utopia, only possible with immense resources--and
which Mdlle. de Cardoville hoped to carry into execution, with the aid of
M. Francois Hardy, of Prince Djalma, of Marshal Simon and his daughters,
and of myself--when I think of the dazzling focus of living forces, which
such an association would have been, and of the immense influence it
might have had on the happiness of the whole human race--my indignation
and horror, as an honest man and a Christian, are excited against that
abominable Company, whose black plots nipped in their bud all those great
hopes, which promised so much for futurity.  What remains now of all
these splendid projects?  Seven tombs.  For my grave also is dug in that
mausoleum, which Samuel has erected on the site of the house in the Rue
Neuve-Saint-Francois, and of which he remains the keeper--faithful to the

"I had written thus far, my friend, when I received your letter.  So,
after having forbidden you to see me, your bishop now orders that you
shall cease to correspond with me.  Your touching, painful regrets have
deeply moved me, my friend.  Often have we talked together of
ecclesiastical discipline, and of the absolute power of the bishops over,
us, the poor working clergy, left to their mercy without remedy.  It is
painful, but it is the law of the church, my friend, and you have sworn
to observe it.  Submit as I have submitted.  Every engagement is binding
upon the man of honor!  My poor, dear Joseph! would that you had the
compensations which remained to me, after the rupture of ties that I so
much value.  But I know too well what you must feel--I cannot go on I
find it impossible to continue this letter, I might be bitter against

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